Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Celebrating the Holidays in Your Classroom

As December nears and most schools just have a few short weeks until winter break, it's a great time to plan how and if you celebrate the holidays in your classroom. I am always a big supporter of celebrating the holidays in a class or school. I think that celebrating the holidays in your class or school help students who can't or don't celebrate elsewhere during the season have something to look forward to. Celebrating the holidays is also something students look forward to and planning celebrations can help build community. Here are some suggestions on ways you can celebrate the holidays this season in your classroom or school.

1. Sing Carols

There are different ways you can encourage singing this holiday season. At my school, students have a karaoke style party and sing for each other. Students are very supportive of each other no matter the vocal tone! At another school I worked at, the staff sang carols to the students. Not the normal carols, however. We adapted the 12 Days of Christmas song to be the 12 Days of School and each day one of us would sing something that "a student said to me...." and then say one of the common phrases heard around the school. It was a huge hit with the students and they talked about that song for months afterwards.

2. Cook Together

This is something Etc. is passionate about in her classroom. She loves cooking and enjoys sharing that with her students. Check out this article she wrote about cooking with your students. Measuring and calculating recipes could be a fun way to incorporate math as well or learn about social studies and the food & culture from around the world. Cooking also enhances and is a great way to do team building in your classroom. There are plenty of no bake recipes you can use in your classroom as well to make it easy or make a cooking contest among a few classes and have a competition! Here are three free bakeless holiday cookie recipes from Etc.'s store to help get you started.

3. Learn About Other Cultures

Since there are different winter holidays celebrated around the world and most likely in your classroom, this is a great time to get your students to learn about other cultures. Incorporating some fun lessons about the way other cultures celebrate help open your students' minds to new ideas while having fun. Check out this free download with descriptions of various winter holidays to get you started!

4. Help Your Students Give

The holidays are a great time to help your students give more this season. Your students could organize a canned food drive, make holiday cards for a local nursing home, or read holiday stories to younger students at your school. I have found that even students who are themselves in need still enjoy giving to others.

5. Exchange Gifts

Instead of drawing names and exchanging gifts, an easier way to have a fun exchange is to trade a well read book. Most students have at least one book they would be able to trade during the holiday season and getting a new book that another student likes is an easy way to encourage reading.

How do you celebrate the holidays in your classroom? Share your ideas or posts in the comments below and I would love to feature some of the ideas in the weeks leading up to the winter holidays.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Save on Christmas/Winter Holiday Products!

Tomorrow--Monday, November 26--is our Cyber Monday sale.  Save 28% on all of our products.  Make sure to check out our holiday products in particular.  Brief descriptions and links are below.  You'll never save more than during this great sale!

1) Christmas Around the World Art Activities for Fast Finishers25 printable art pages to encourage creativity in your classroom while helping students learn about winter holidays celebrated around the world.

2) Christmas Around the World Math & Literacy Packet: this 38 page packet contains 20 printable activities to create literacy and math centers or stations in your classroom. Each center can also be used as a printable worksheet.

3) Gingerbread Christmas Math Game: Lesson Lady presents Gingerbread Christmas Math Game! You choose if students use multiplication, addition, or subtraction to play this fun game.

4) Christmas Around the World Memory GameThis game contains 48 cards to help your students learn about Christmas/winter traditions around the world

5) Word Problems for Christmas/Winter Holidaysa packet of winter holiday word problems practicing fractions, decimals and percentages.

6) December 1-a-day History Puzzlesthirty-one word searches, one for each day of the month of December. Each page starts out with a short summary of something significant that happened on that day in history. Underneath is a puzzle containing key words from the summary. 

7) Christmas, Hanukkah, Posadas & Kwanzaa BingoHere is a fun game to play with students of all ages. This download includes over thirty different bingo cards with vocabulary from four major winter holiday celebrations: Kwanzaa, Posadas, Hanukkah and Christmas. (Note: Bingo chips not included.)

Plus several freebies!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Up to 28% off at Teachers Pay Teachers! 11/26/12-11/27/12

Teachers Pay Teachers is having a Cyber Monday sale in 3 days.  Take a look now at the products that you'd like and plan to place your order on Monday.  The deals never get better.  You get 28% off of all of our merchandise.

Click on the links to our stores to check out literacy and numeracy centers, holiday activities, art lessons, Spanish lessons and so much more.  From there you can sift through the 1,000's of other products from sellers around the country.  Stock up on your favorites November 26th to save, save, save!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving to our readers!

Etc and I at One Less Headache want to wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving! We will be taking a short break this week from blogging and joining up again on Friday for some wonderful after Thanksgiving deals!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fabulous Friday Freebies! Compilation of More Than 100 Freebies!

For this week in honor of Thanksgiving we are thankful for teacher freebies & free teaching resources. To celebrate those freebies we have compiled a list of all of our Fabulous Friday Freebies! Please enjoy this huge freebie collection. Most links have lists of at least 3-4 freebies.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Developing an Attitude of Gratitude

"It's the little things that count."

"Count your blessings."

"Your attitude determines your altitude."

"It is better to give than to receive."

All of these are saying that have become cliche, and perhaps, therefore, less meaningful.  Thanksgiving Day is supposed to be a day of thanks.  Instead, it too often becomes of day of over least in my household.  Why should there be a holiday, though, to remind us to be grateful?  Give thanks at all times.  Make it a habit.  Teach your students to focus on the positive.  More than once, I've sat down and listed all the little successes and blessing as a way to intentionally look at the glass as half full when it felt easier to see it as half empty.  So, here are my top ten suggestions for bringing attitude--an attitude of gratitude to the classroom.

1. Teach them to pay special attention to "the least of these." Principals receive recognition for how the school is doing.  Teachers receive recognition for how the students are doing.  These figures are noticed and thanked for what they do.  No, not all the time, but they aren't invisible.  Who in your building is?  The maintenance or cafeteria staff?  The aides?  Why not dedicate a day to appreciating the people whose work most often goes unnoticed?  Throw them a party of appreciation.  Write thank you notes.  Teach students that everyone is important.

2. Count your blessings.  Don't relegate it to the category of empty cliches; practice it.  Have students write down what they are thankful for and post them in the class.  Be intentional about choosing to give thanks.

3. Catch your students doing something good.  Find the positive in all your students.  Don't let the recognition be for a display, but for something they are caught doing when they don't think anyone is watching.

4. Students may dread having the teacher call home because they are afraid of what they'll say.  Try putting call slips in your classroom that students can fill out requesting a call home for the good things they are doing.

5. Give out class awards.  Have students vote to give each other positive awards and hand them out in a  mini awards ceremony.

6. Teach them to make lemons out of lemonade.  Some of my students have a hard time coming up with positive things to say about themselves, and/or are embarrassed about their past. Teach students to look at their strengths, weaknesses and how to see the silver lining in everything.  For example, students who are coming to school despite academic challenges are resilient, especially the older students who are still sticking it out day after day when other peers in the same boat have dropped out.

7. Have students give each other shout outs.  Have them draw each others' names out of a hat and write down something positive they see in that person.  Read them out at the end of the day.

8. Have them write a thank you note to someone in their life.  They can work on their letter writing skills and their attitude of gratitude at the same time.

9. Have them do something that they will receive no credit for.  When I was growing up we made May Day baskets, filled them with candy, put them on our neighbor's doorknob, rang the bell and ran away before they could see who had been there.  This concept can be applied here

10.  Have students track growth on a self monitoring chart.  Recognize progress instead of accomplishments of uniform goals.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thanksgiving Math Packet for Sale

If you are looking for a fun Thanksgiving themed math center for your students, check out my Thanksgiving Math Worksheets! Included in this pack are 10 Thanksgiving themed math worksheets that focus on math skills such as multiplication, division, fractions, converting fractions to decimals, pie graphs, and bar graphs. I recommend this pack for grades 5-8.

Although this pack is colorful and has lots of fun images, it can easily be used in black and white or color. All answer keys are included. Here is a list of the ten fun worksheets included in this pack:

1. Recipe Math Worksheet
2. Nutrition Facts Questions
3. Turkey Facts Multiplication
4. Cornucopia Greater or Lesser Than Coloring Sheet
5. Create a Thankful Pie Chart
6. Draw a Cranberry Bar Graph
7. Turkey Feather Numerical Patterns
8. Dinner Plate Math Match-Up
9. Thanksgiving Word Multiplication
10. Thanksgiving Word Problems

All of these are included for only $2.49!

If you prefer Thanksgiving literacy worksheets, check out my related literacy pack for more Thanksgiving fun.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fabulous Friday Freebies:Thanksgiving Goodies

Thanksgiving is two weeks from yesterday and there are so many freebies out there.  Here is just a shaving off the tip at the top of the iceberg....

The first one is a template for a simple acrostic poem of thankfulness.  This is useful for putting students of all ages in a mindset of gratitude for everything we have as we enter this season.  Use this as a bell ringer in high school or a homework assignment for the lower grades.  Have students take it home and interview family about what they are thankful for.  

The next one is a mini-unit on word problems for 1-3 grade.  It includes addition and subtraction, but with a seasonally appropriate theme.

Lesson Lady's Thanksgiving themed art activity pages for fast finishers is a favorite.  It is full of fun coloring pages for the kiddos.  Create an anchor chart with activities students can work on when they finish and add this to the list.  It gives them a bit of down time to work on their fine motor skills.

And, why not use the holidays to take a break and have a little fun.  Check out Thanksgiving bingo.  They'll learn vocabulary while they're at it.

Finally, have your students make edible turkeys.  I did this last year with students in high school and elementary school, and they all had a blast.  They're so cute and so tasty!  All you need are oreos, candy corn, white frosting and something for the body. (You can use whoppers and peanut butter cups, as pictured here, or something else.  Last year I used chocolate covered cherries.)

Want to see more?  Check out Teachers Pay Teachers and narrow the search by grade and content.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tips for Parent Teacher Conferences

This week my school is hosting its fall parent-teacher conferences. Since parent-teacher conferences is something we all go through, why not make it easier? Here are some tips for your parent-teacher conferences.

1. Offer parents multiple options for conferences. This could include phone conferences as well which can also be effective. Set up a time during parent-teacher conferences to call the parent and discuss the child over the phone.

2. Start with the positives! Even if a child is struggling or has difficulty in class, it is always nice to start off on a positive note and say something positive. It is always nice to end on a positive note as well.

3. Ask your students' parents for a partnership. Sometimes parents can be great allies and it is always best to find ways to have them work with you for the betterment of their child.

4. Don't be afraid to ask for support. Sometimes you may need some extra support during a conference. Don't be afraid to ask colleagues to help support you during a conference. My administrative team encourages us to ask them for extra support when we may need it during parent-teacher conferences.

5. Set up other activities for parents during parent-teacher conferences. Sometimes a great way to encourage parents to stay around the school or have activities for them to do while waiting. This could include setting up a book fair at the school or opening the gym for younger siblings to play while their parents are in a conference.

Do you have a tip for parent-teacher conferences? I would love to hear it!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Snowman Glyph

I saw my first snowfall almost a month ago now.  It didn't last long and it didn't stick, but that soon will change.  Get prepared with weather relevant activities and check out my Snowman Glyph activity.

Your students will learn what a glyph is, make their own and analyze class data in this fun winter activity. They will begin by learning what a glyph is and how to use one to convey and analyze data. They will create one of their very own. Then they will look at their classmates' glyphs and analyze the data using fractions, percentages, and graphs (bar graphs and pie charts). They will have fun doing it during the cold winter months ahead. And, when they are all done, the materials can be turned into a colorful class bulletin board! 

Note: This is the advanced Snowman Glyph activity for 5-8 graders. (For the 2-4 grade version go to my store and check out the other Snowman Glyph activity without the math.)

This item has 4 out of 4 stars and has received strong reviews.  Here is what one buyer said...

Great seasonal resource that touches on MANY mathematical topics.

Check it out!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fabulous Friday Freebies: Day of the Dead

I have found that any student, no matter their heritage, enjoys learning about and celebrating the Day of the Dead holiday in class. I have celebrated Day of the Dead in my classroom in a few ways. I showed students a PowerPoint presentation on the Day of the Dead and we created some skull sculptures using wire. Then, in a few classes my students are making sugar skulls since they are an easy non-bake project that I can do in my classroom. Since this week is the celebration of the Day of the Dead, here are some fun freebies you can use in your classroom to celebrate the Day of the Dead.

Note: You do not only have to celebrate Day of the Dead during its official time. Students really enjoy learning about this holiday at any time of the year!

This website has a wide range of Day of the Dead activities compiled for teachers. There are links to free PowerPoint slideshows, mini packets, education units, and art activities. They have done the work for you researching various sites and compiled them in one easy to use list.

Although there are a few grammatical errors in this free PowerPoint, I have used it multiple times with various classes to introduce the Day of the Dead. This PowerPoint contains a lot of relevant information with an enormous amount of photos that makes it easy to teach students about the basics of the Day of the Dead. I highly recommend it!

My partner in blogging Etc offers a free Day of the Dead word search puzzle that is a sample from her fall packet. You could use this as a fun activity for fast/early finishers in your classroom.

My classrooms are finishing up their Day of the Dead sugar skulls today. I'll take some photos and share the recipe and tips with you next week! Enjoy the Day of the Dead.
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